*You can buy or make stem ginger: Blanch peeled, diced fresh ginger in boiling water for about 10 seconds; drain water and repeat process two more times. In a different saucepan, make a sugar syrup and then add the ginger, simmering for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, cool and store in an airtight container in the fridge.
†Self-rising flour is flour with baking powder and salt already added. It is traditionally milled from softer, lower protein wheat; and it produces softer, more tender baked goods than all-purpose or higher-protein flours. If you don’t want to buy a bag, you can make a home version: Combine 1 cup all-purpose flour with 1½ teaspoons baking powder and ¼ teaspoon salt.
1. PREHEAT the oven to 356°F. Grease and line the base of an eight-inch-round cake pan with nonstick baking parchment.
2. PLACE the butter, sugar, 1 cup of golden syrup and the chopped ginger and syrup together in a small saucepan and heat gently, stirring until the butter has melted.
3. PLACE the flour, ground ginger, baking soda and sultanas in a large bowl.
4. WHISK together the eggs and milk in a pitcher. Pour the melted syrup mixture and the egg mixture into the bowl of flour and beat well with a wooden spoon until blended. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake pan and bake for 35–40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
5. LEAVE the cake to cool in the pan, then invert the cooled cake onto a serving plate so that the flat bottom is on top. Brush with the remaining golden syrup.
6. ROLL out the fondant on a sugar-dusted surface to the thickness of a pound coin. Using a 1- to 1-1/2 inch diameter cookie cutter, stamp out as many discs as possible (you should get 55–60 pieces). Arrange an overlapping ring of fondant discs around the edge of the cake. Continue to arrange the overlapping discs towards the center of the cake, alternating the direction in which the circles overlap each other so that each ring forms a rosette pattern. Allow the icing to set for a couple of hours before slicing and serving.
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